Hi Everyone! I hope you are having such an incredible Christmas week! I would like to sincerely wish you all the best Christmas and I hope you soak up some wonderful time with your family and friends!
I personally cannot wait to stuff my face with holiday goodies, give some amazing gifts, and celebrate with family. One of my favorite Christmas traditions goes like this: Once we are done with dinner and clean up, 15-20 of us play a card game called “99”. Essentially, you add up cards until you reach 99 (the number you cannot exceed) and you need one of four special cards to survive the round. It also consists of picking on the people next to you as much as you possibly can even when it’s unnecessary for your “survival” (why Andrew and I do not sit by one another). This game will keep us going the rest of the night and ends up with most of us almost peeing our pants from laughter.
On a different note, if there is one thing I have learned about the holiday season as a newly wed, it is that Christmas is expensive! I completely took for granted my mom buying groceries for our Christmas meals. With the decorations and presents to buy, food dishes to make, and parties to attend, it is easy to see your paycheck quickly dwindle away!
So let me share a secret with you.
There is an easy way to save yourself at least a few bucks a week and for others, it will save them a whole lot more! The most essential part of this trick is to set aside 30 minutes to plan ahead. I know, ‘planning” is a scary word, but this 30-minute time frame will save you hours of frustration and unnecessary money spent.
Imagine this, it’s your typical shopping day, let’s say Sunday. You know you need to go shopping and need to make dinner for your family that night. So you grab your jacket and keys, and head off to the store. You buy all of the typical things you usually have in your fridge, a few random things you think look good, and some items for a meal you think you may want to make. You get to the register and your bill is $150 and some change. No problem, food is important. However, the week goes on and you get busy, leaving no time to make any of the meals you thought of when you bought the ingredients. Now, it’s Sunday again and those ingredients are now spoiled. So you throw them out and do it all over again.
Don’t do that.
Instead of just running out the door to the local grocery store, take 30 minutes to sit and plan. I know 90% of you are on Pinterest and have loads of recipes saved. If you are unsure about what you want to make, get to all those saved pins and pick a couple recipes out (I also have a few recipes you can use here). Once you know what you would like to make, sit down and create a shopping list of the ingredients you need for those recipes as well as any other “stamp” items you get and use on a weekly basis. Stamp items for us are the ingredients we use for morning shakes, coffee, cream, etc. I never buy more than I need either.
The goal of this whole concept is to eliminate waste. Eliminate items you think you will use but end up throwing out. If you really end up needing them, you can make a quick run to the store. Think of it this way, anything you throw out because it went bad is essentially money you just took out of your wallet threw into your garbage.
I wasted a lot of money the first month we were married. But since I started making Sunday afternoons my planning time, I have cut at least $20.00 (if not more) off of our weekly food bill. So let’s put that into context, because I know $20.00 seems like no biggie. If I wasted $20.00 every week, that’s $80 a month. Wasting $80.00 a month is $960 a year. That’s almost $1,000 a year wasted! For a young, married couple, that’s a lot of money that could have been saved towards a house, a new car, student loans, etc.
I want to challenge you to try this for a couple of months and would LOVE to hear how it worked for you! If you want to take it one step further, you can plan & cook on Sundays. This saves a lot of time in your week and helps stay on a healthy eating plan; however, if you need a place to start, start with simply planning the food you will eat throughout the week.